This question popped out of another discussion, about if the photon needs a receiver to exist. Can a photon get emitted without a receiver? A universe containing only one electron was hypothetically suggested. And a similar theory was mentioned in Feynman’s nobel lecture in 1965:

As a by-product of this same view, I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, "Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass" "Why?" "Because, they are all the same electron!" And, then he explained on the telephone, "suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space - instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the plane corresponding to a fixed time, we would see many, many world lines and that would represent many electrons, except for one thing. If in one section this is an ordinary electron world line, in the section in which it reversed itself and is coming back from the future we have the wrong sign to the proper time - to the proper four velocities - and that's equivalent to changing the sign of the charge, and, therefore, that part of a path would act like a positron." "But, Professor", I said, "there aren't as many positrons as electrons." "Well, maybe they are hidden in the protons or something", he said. I did not take the idea that all the electrons were the same one from him as seriously as I took the observation that positrons could simply be represented as electrons going from the future to the past in a back section of their world lines. That, I stole!

It was a very successful theft indeed, so let me try a theft too. Since Wheeler came up with this theory, we have come up with string theory that create electrons and other elementary particles by string vibrations. Could all strings also have equal properties or interactions, so they can create different particles with equal charge and mass? So if we merge Wheeler’s idea with string theory, we can formulate this into a hypothetical question: Could all strings be one single string which weaves the fabric of the universe? To simplify it even further we can say that a single particle drags the string along and tie the knots in the fabric of the universe together by interactions with itself. So then we get a single string or a single particle universe, which is the ultimate simplicity.

The speed of light can’t be a threshold for such a particle; because the particle itself must travel with infinite speed far beyond C and probably don't even have a velocity we can put any number on, but just call infinite speed. To go past the speed of light the particle must be without mass, and then it has no inertia and is free to go everywhere to interact with its own string which is woven into time, space, particles, mass, charge, magnetism, gravity, me, you and the universe itself.


Some of the responses to this question are sour because there are no equations, it speculates in a naive way, etc. However, it has an impressionistic resemblance to some important ideas which really may be part of the final picture in physics.

Specifically, I mean (1) the idea that all physical reality consists of vibrations in a single substance (2) the idea that the history of the universe is a knotted worldline.

(1) was the physical picture of 11-dimensional supergravity, the leading candidate for a theory of everything before string theory, and still an important limit of string theory. In d=11 SUGRA, everything is just excitations of supergeometry. In string theory and M theory, we have strings and branes, but it seems rather plausible that in the end these will turn out to be extended excitations of some "generalized geometry".

Regarding (2), the question talks about strings, but later it talks about a "single particle [that] drags the string along". So I take that to be a return to Wheeler's idea of a particle weaving back and forth in time, with the "string" being the world-line. Well, that doesn't sound like string theory, where strings describe two-dimensional histories, "worldsheets". However, before the people who know physics stop reading, hear me out...

What this reminds me of, first of all, is Witten's work on expectation values of knotted Wilson lines in three dimensions. Although it utilizes the apparatus of quantum field theory, that is usually conceived of as an exercise in mathematics only - a way to get knot invariants from a three-dimensional perspective. However, in his recent work on Khovanov homology, he managed to embed these calculations specifically into M-theory. And I think the work on the Jones polynomial originally derives from the first studies of topological string theory (and it continues to be developed in that context, e.g. see recent papers on the "refined topological string").

Now let us turn to gauge/gravity duality, in its AdS form and its far more problematic dS form. We now have many dualities in which string theory in AdS4 is equivalent to some d=3 theory of Chern-Simons plus matter fields. We also have one dS4 duality, proposed by Strominger et al, in which a Vasiliev gravity theory in dS4 is dual to a d=3 Euclidean field theory. And recall that Vasiliev theory may be a truncation of string theory.

So let's suppose, for the sake of discussion, that our asymptotically dS4 universe is dual to a Euclidean Chern-Simons+matter theory. I know this idea has problems, but perhaps it is a step towards something that really works, and not just a dead end... In any case, couldn't you form a loop basis for this dual theory? Similar to what the hated "loop quantum gravitists" do. But here you don't even need dynamics because time is going to be holographically emergent. The Hilbert space of the Euclidean theory is a superposition of knotted loop states, and everything about the dual dS4 theory should be obtained by applying the right operators to those states.

This may seem rather a long way from where we started. But still, the idea is that the universe is described by a string theory holographically emergent from a superposition of knots. Exactly how it would work is unclear to me, but this seems to define a rather weighty research program, rather than being a vaporous idea you can immediately refute. And yet ideas like this do emerge from vaporous musings like the one in the question! It's just that they have to be informed by logic and by physical and mathematical knowledge, in order to get anywhere.

So by all means, criticize people's vague musings. But be aware that sometimes, they have more potential than meets the eye...

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Since Community in its infinite wisdom brought this back again I will state that this is not a physics question but a question similar to "is everything God"?

Could all strings be one single string which weaves the fabric of the universe? To simplify it even further we can say that a single particle drags the string along and tie the knots in the fabric of the universe together by interactions with itself. So then we get a single string or a single particle universe, which is the ultimate simplicity.

This is a metaphysical model/proposition because it does not show how the observable universes appears, nor how from infinite assumed velocities finite velocities appear, not how the extremely intricate standard model which is the distillation of an enormous number of experiments will miraculously appear out of some fantastic cuts in a multidimensional fantasy. Let alone general relativity and string theories. String theories can accommodate the standard model easily.

You have not demonstrated nor linked to how one string no matter how many dimensional and with how many knots will give rise to the standard model. Not even conceptually.

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There could be an extension of this particular theory. Might be that the photon-photon interactions in the string be crossed by antiparallel matter that condemns or regulates the interactions, thereby framing a composite of matter that creates constant strings with consistent vibrations. But as the paradox of the photon interaction with the antiparallel matter is a level, then the range of vibrations could be completely indistinguishable.

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  • $\begingroup$ What you writes sounds wonderful, but I am not sure I totally understand it. Let me try. A infinitly fast string-particle could change everything every-time. But it doesn't seem like we have a total change of everything from moment to moment, because matter gives the path of the string-particle a "structure", which recreates the same matter over and over again. Time itself could then be the rate which the string-particle recreates our universe, and we could be living in sort of a, frame by frame, holographic universe, having our, frame by frame, holographic experience. $\endgroup$ – Enos Oye Mar 4 '13 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ So then the string-particle is not a subject to time because it creates time itself! What a good candidate for a theory of everything! $\endgroup$ – Enos Oye Mar 4 '13 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @EnosOye, sri: Note that Physics.SE is not suposed to be a non-mainstream idea launching site. (-1 to this answer (and, this question.).) $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 7 '13 at 11:02

Let me answer my own hypothetical question and summarize the feedback which has come forward:

In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. In Quantum Mechanics there is no difference between one Quantum to another one. According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe—all of the particles that make up matter and forces—is comprised of tiny vibrating fundamental strings. Moreover, every one of these strings is identical. The only difference between one string and another, whether it's a heavy particle that is part of an atom or a mass less particle that carries light, is its resonant pattern, or how it vibrates.

  • According to experimental physics there is nothing more fundamental than a single quantum .

  • According to Theoretical Physics there is nothing more fundamental than one single string.

Source: Isn't a single Quantum one single string?

If we have an infinitely fast particle which weaves a string as it goes along, this string will be continuous, but in our present reality it will not be continuous. Because the string has infinite speed and can go into the future and the past to react with versions of the string which it drags along. In our present, the string will appear and disappear, and it will look as we have a large amount of small string segments. This is consistent with standard string theory.

Some may react to the term infinite speed, but there are no physical laws that forbid such a speed, as long as the string-particle has no mass. Quantum entanglement also has a speed far above the speed of light, a speed which may be infinite and explain the connection which seems to transfer information and energy in an instant. The actual connection could be the connecting one-string particle which creates the particles, and link the two quantum entangled particles together with the same string and pattern.

Some may say an infinitely fast string-particle conflict with our view of causality, or the order of cause and effect, because if a string-particle goes back in time and changes the past, our present will be changed, and as we apparently still exist, backwards time travel is impossible. But the father of the one electron universe, Professor Wheeler, had a student with a beautiful mind. Hugh Everett proposed that every outcome of a choice, do actually happen and creates an infinite number of parallel realities. And we have to allow an infinite number of parallel realities if we shall allow the tiniest particle to travel backwards in time. This is also a necessity if the speed of the string-particle is truly infinite, because without an infinite number of parallel realities our reality would become completely packed, because the only way to match infinity is infinity itself.

We have also dragged particles out of empty space, because empty space does not exist, there are always quantum fluctuations where virtual particles drops in and out of existence. This will violate the law of conservation of energy if we don’t allow parallel realities. The virtual particles could be the one particle-string which drops in and out of our present reality, without being able to establish a consistent vibrational pattern.

An infinitely fast string-particle could potentially change everything, every time in every reality. But it doesn't seem like we experience a total change of everything, from moment to moment, because matter and particles regulates the path of the string-particle by creating a vibrational pattern. The string particle will follow the pattern over and over again, and recreate the same matter or particles over and over again. This leads to an amazing possibility, time itself could be the frequency which the string-particle recreates our universe, and we could be living in sort of a, frame by frame, holographic universe, having our, frame by frame, holographic experience. And the infinitely fast string-particle is not a subject to time, because it can create time itself.

  • The definition of a quantum is the minimal amount of physicals entities involved in an interaction. A one string-particle universe is as minimal as it ever can get.

  • According to string theory all strings have equal length, but differ in vibration. If an infinitely fast string-particle pops in and out of our present, with a certain frequency, all strings can have the same length in our reality.

The conflict between quantum mechanics and string theory is often referred to as a quantum-string duality, with an infinitely fast one string-particle we can solve this with a one quantum-string singularity.

Some said this infinitely fast particle-string theory has no predictive power, but I can’t find the predictive power of standard versions of string theory either. The theory might have predictive power, but let us first see if this theory is consistent with physics and the laws of nature.

Is this the simplest of solutions which could explain all observations? Could this simplistic theory be a good little candidate for a theory of everything? Please take a shoot at it and write an answer, the worst thing that can happen is that we rid this hypothetical question off our minds. Any answer or tip will be just fine.

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